I get asked this question almost daily:
Can I really become a non-drinker in a month?
It’s not something I should even claim to be able to answer from a personal perspective as someone who has been a non drinker for 11 years. How could I honestly sit here and tell you I know exactly how the one month mark feels after over a decade since being there?
I think we can all agree that it’s not somewhere I have been for a very long time.
But l do know a woman who can: One of my incredible ladies has written an account of becoming a non-drinker last month. Of why she knows doing it this way is different. Of how the process feels. Of what to expect.
I could never put it as well as she does. She is so inspiring to me. Her hard work to put these tools to work is beyond admirable.
I hope you enjoy her journey as much as I have enjoyed being a part of it this last month. I’m so excited that she can be an authentic example of inspiration to you and to me.
I contacted Carrie when I was at a low. Although not physically dependent on alcohol, drink was robbing me of my self respect, dignity, creativity and health. I knew I wanted to stop, but I didn’t want a life that revolves around ‘abstinence’, ‘struggle’ and ‘denial’.
I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for 35 days. I had to look that up because I don’t feel the need to count days – I’m not serving a jail sentence! This is the longest period of time I’ve ever been sober (except for a period of serious illness a few years ago). It’s taken hard work, but has not been in any way painful or difficult. I don’t rely on willpower – with Carrie’s help and support, over the last month or so I’ve begun to build a life that is so much better, brighter and more joyful than before. So much so that booze no longer feels necessary. I genuinely don’t want it, which feels like a miracle.
I worked with Carrie for a full month, talking via Skype for an hour once a week. We packed a huge amount into every session – I have a notebook full of notes I managed to take. Just as important though was her email support. I emailed Carrie every day, letting her know how I was getting on, how I was feeling, asking questions. Her responses were always thoughtful, supportive and personal. She even emailed me when she was on holiday. On her birthday.
I learned that I am responsible for, and have the ability to change, my moods. We explored many tools, some of which resonated with me (appreciation/EFT/visualisation) while some didn’t (meditation). Carrie’s approach is tailored to the individual – keep what works, discard what doesn’t.
I learned to appreciate the beautiful little details in my life: a chat with the owner of the deli where I buy my lunch; caramel flavour coffee; the first sunny day of the year; a bunch of pink and white tulips. I think of appreciation as my superpower – it can change my mood instantly. I literally feel my body relax as I’m doing it.
So how else has my life changed? I’m richer. Not because I’ve saved money by not drinking – Carrie is very clear that money not spent on alcohol should be spent on lovely life enhancing things! I’m making more money because without alcohol I have the energy and focus to build up the tiny business I set up as a ‘side-gig’ last year and had been neglecting ever since.
I’ve found that situations where I usually relied on drink to give me confidence are actually easier without it. I’ve been to dinner parties, restaurants and even a fancy cocktail bar and enjoyed every minute. I’ve been astonished to find that I’m actually funnier/wittier/better company sober!
So am I ‘cured’ or ‘recovered’. Not quite. I find the day to day ridiculously easy, but I still have moments when my subconscious tries to bargain with me (maybe I could only drink on special occasions?) or I find the future overwhelming (no Champagne at my wedding? No sangria on holiday?). The difference is that now these are occasional flashes rather than an all consuming preoccupation and I have the tools to deal with them.
Working with Carrie had been life changing. She just gets it. She’s not a doctor or a counsellor or a therapist – she’s one of us. She’s figured out the recovery thing and because she’s generous and kind she wants to share what she knows. She made me feel that my success was not only possible but inevitable.